American Rebel Yellow

some see the virtue of drowning
faithfully like Jonah
thighs pressed together
in the fin and rib of things
cramped where tongues bloom
muscles tense like November trees
curving downward into moist blades
with just enough left for their desires
to be strapped to the back
still singing loudly
and overhanging like cattle

they do not obey language
like an SOS from
poorly healed stitches
buried in the viscera
only a bonfire of redwood
in the oilfields
can make them look down
can make them feel
the engine entering them
with eyes like elevators
inlaid bent and perverse

all along their bottle capped horizon
wearing their shirts untucked
singing falala songs
to buzz their hard won
southbound lives
they hurry along
hoping to curate
some kind of armature
or refrigeration system
made of steam
and the better kinds
of softwood

Propeller

I don’t need
their winter curse
from a time gone by
even silence
turns on its rails
staying clear
of the painters easel
so it goes the windows
of the school
the oldest of all griefs
harder than boxwood

a nectarine
and voices
clear as water
with a torn piece
leaf by leaf
woven into bluish lenses
and the gritty white ruins
of an Oklahoma prison
that held Clyde Barrow
that nobody visits

from these animal bones
children live in private gardens
laughing and naked
running with red hands

I’m guessing the solitude
shuffles where the boy
defecates in the dirt
under the porch
his bronze body
never again less
incurable than now

some are snags
bare as chalk
some conspire
to make noises among others
full of hooks and ministers
a flash of criminals

where a girl is walking
a fragrance of hips
smoothes out time
lines and ruts
cut into her school desk
far from profound
say things will remain
all the numbers and letters
stretch out beyond the heat plant
towards the winery
like copper trees at dawn

no balm in gilead
just a rollaboard suitcase
in the carousel
at the airport terminal
our secret decay
fills the gaps
in the paraphrase of faces
before words can

maybe Charles Lindbergh’s
only mistake was
he wasn’t a mistake
or Michelangelo
only a boy
carelessly bronzed
over time

New Grandchild

Baby Emily looks like her dad
Roughed up a bit by birth
But insistently here
Looking out at the world
With fearless punch drunk eyes

Now that I am here with you people
I’ve yet to make up my mind about, she says
Where is the food?
And can a girl get a little shut eye?

Miss America

each Miss America
has an old woman
for spare change
she is stuck
swimming until suppertime
cocked and ready
for the coarse apple

each sculptor
has a heat gun
to glue the artifacts
into register
some in a hurry
will bend down
to see their veins
tumble out
proud as buffalo

when the heirlooms
finally flee
their tiny bodies
it will be the grandfathers
that walk back
along the tracks waving
returning to their place
on the hill
above Mortain

Midterm Elections in the USA

Nightly TV two-mouthed
Striped and pointing
In four toned shoes

In Macon in Chattanooga
Sculling in a blitz
Reaching a god-like hand

Hanging microphones
Like mantis arms
Staked up high

Urging unturned
And crucial enough
Or cruciate because

Of Waco’s drive
To warrior hunt
With chopping arms

The two-fingered hands
Blind teeth and pink tongue
Befurred he and she

One suit one leaning skirt
One eyebrow arched
Pushing back bangs

Oh geez two grins
One white star
A wall of TV tiles

Hoops like golden beer cans
Bobbing over yellow marks
A text-stabbed African American

Under five-o stars
Getting ready to vomit
In a grizzled Van Dyke

Pink tie mike
Ready to take on
The birthright slam

Duck walk back
The midterm glares
For news the back row

Says king me with
An eight pointed star
Pin me with herald and shield

Not so safe as we
Always thought this
Lost dog called democracy

Cultural Patriarchy in Zimbabwe. The Boil on My Butt.  

Makaitah found her way to one of my poems. She has inspired me to repost her essay about the treatment of women in her native Zimbabwe. Words lead to deeds and her words are as powerful and poetic as any I’ve read recently.

Makaitah Rogue

 

Boy, this discussion gets me all the way heated up! Its rampancy in this little teapot shaped country of mine and spread out like trampoline sheath, makes me seethe.  Growing up in a culture that thrives on the primary power of male dominance is daunting. I have always felt that something was really flawed when they tried to make patriarchal ideologies natural and normal. It just didn’t sit with me, I was simply not having it and when I finally became an adult, I rebelled against this overbearing dictatorial system. The moment I stepped out of its confining boarders, I was branded with a scarlet letter. Behold I was caught in the wrath of an ostracizing and unforgiving society.  I was a raging whore in their eyes. A woman of loose morals, dressed to attract the attention of men, she gets intoxicated with wine and dances provocatively at night…

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Love and Chemo

a frazzled thief in the burn
she came delivered to glad

disorganized and knobbed
and reaching up short

a lost wax casting
a mecca of bones in bright drapery

come and lose this she said
ride the raves the light ball ends

guitars and thin nickel strings
and rumored fathers

in this skinny hour of forenoon
couldn’t want more

a bobcat with a dark spotted neck
would leap upon the gain

only from courtesy
I must keep you dead, she said

as radiation in the mouth and spine
humanized acid; arctic life

a lover knows to pass through
the gorge and along the ledge

sharp as one degree of arc-tangent
and on the summit of high nakedness

take the testimony
of a lossy heart